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’33 REO Speedwagon build w/ a twist

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Barn Find, May 6, 2013.

  1. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    I thought I'd start a thread to chronicle Dad's pickup build. We just sat the cab on the frame last weekend, so we are starting to see what it will look like for the first time.

    The most accurate description of this ride would be a 1933 Franklin Olympic pickup. Franklin never built a pickup, but if they did, it would have looked like this.

    Allow me to explain, with photos:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  2. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Let me go back a year or two. Some fellow had acquired and proceeded to dismantle this 33 Franklin Olympic sedan. Once dismantled, the fellow became discouraged-and rightly so. These bodies were all wood structure, and it is a big, big job to restore a car like this.
    [​IMG]
    The pile of parts that had recently been someone else's barn find literally showed up at Dad's door. Dad traded a running AA Ford truck for the dead Franklin.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
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  3. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Like a stray puppy, Dad wasn't sure what he was going to do with the pile of Franklin parts. He knew these cars. In the early 80s Dad restored a nearly identical car. He still has the Olympic that he restored. It is a great car and a good driver. One thing was for sure, he was not going to tackle all that wood work for a four-door sedan like one he already had, and it would be unlikely anyone else would be up to the task, either.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  4. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Franklin was famous for their big, air-cooled six cylinder engines. The Franklin six used an aluminum crankcase and aluminum heads and still weighed 1,000 pounds. Individual, finned cylinders were cooled by a squirrel-cage blower run off the front of the crankshaft. A dash-controlled "Supercharger" forced a portion of air from this blower through the carburetor.
    [​IMG]

    In the hard times of the Depression, Franklin was a high-priced car with no low-priced offering. Rather than tool up to build a smaller car, Franklin struck an arrangement with REO to purchase their mid-sized Flying Cloud and re-brand them with the trademark Franklin-air cooled engine. This combination of a medium-sized car and Franklin's 100 hp six, gave it one of the highest hp-to-weight ratio of any production car short of the likes of Duesenberg, Marmon, and Stutz.

    The Franklin Olympic was really a REO flying Cloud with a bigger engine, hood, grill, and hubcaps marking it a Franklin-an early hot rod.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  5. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Dad had to do quite a bit of reassembly to get the car to this state and mobile under its own power. The rear of the body is shapely, but things are a lot worse off than they appear. All the wood is gone and the inner fenders had been patched together using part of an old washing machine. The entire center of the body, including the sills is just a pile of parts.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Gerg
    Joined: Feb 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,827

    Gerg
    Member

    Really cool video now who else dug down and figured out how to watch it at this point lol
     
  7. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Here's a short clip of the Franklin running.

     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  8. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Good man. I'm missing something very simple in the syntax. Was trying to fix that, but I guess I'll just leave the URL for the dedicated viewers. http://youtu.be/Pj8GeRCa90w
     
  9. Gerg
    Joined: Feb 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,827

    Gerg
    Member

    i can't figure it out my drunk ass can't comprehend i guess
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  10. I like the direction this story is heading,
    and the video, there is just something about exposed rockers
     
  11. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Emboldened by the roar of that engine, thoughts turned to what we should power with this unique drivetrain. Way back when Dad was restoring his Olympic sedan, we had seen part of a REO Speedwagon 1/2-ton pickup at the Chickasaw swap meet (maybe 1987?).

    Olypics and Flying Clouds were nearly identical in 1933. Franklin only made a handful of cars in 1934 before halting vehicle production only to carry on producing aircarft and industrial engines. REO car bodies changed in '34, but '34 saw the introduction of the pickup, which used the same die stampings as the previous year sedans.

    Wouldn't it be cool to build a Franklin pickup?

    And it would have to be easier than restoring a foor-door sedan!

    But surely, we'd never be able to find parts to build a Speedwagon pickup? There can't be more than a dozen in existence and the only one we could find for sale wears a six-digit price tag. Dad set in ciphering on what he could create from discarder sedan quarters and I set in researching REO trucks.

    Even if it turned out like Tom Joad's Essex, we we're going to build a truck.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. ss34coupe
    Joined: May 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,040

    ss34coupe
    Member

    Very nice story, look forward to reading more.
     
  13. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    I am thoroughly impressed with the power of the Internet. A Google image search turned up this 1935 REO truck. The only identifying information was the town -Shaniko, OR. I never considered this a real lead. For one thing, Shaniko was 1,900 miles away.
    [​IMG]

    Something inspired me to look up Shaniko on Google Earth. Sure enough, Shaniko is so small that you can take inventory of the derelict vehicles from space. Within minutes, I spotted the REO in satellite imagery by the telltale hole in the roof. I identified a few local landmarks, like the Shaniko Hotel. My Google searching got more precise, and I confirmed the exact location of this Speedwagon.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    I became fascinated with the town of Shaniko. I'ts a ghost town, and one of its residents acquired lots of old cars and trucks. There is a nice article at http://jalopnik.com/5844657/an-oregon-ghost-towns-abandoned-car-museum

    Knowing the backstory of Shaniko, helped me fine-tune my Google image searchers further. It turns out, plenty of tourists pass through, take pictures of random junk and them post their vacation photos to the web. Once I figured this out, I was able to find decades worth of photos chronicling the slow deterioration of the REO and other local artifacts.

    [​IMG]

    This is one of the earliest photos I found with the sheepherder's lodge stil lin tact on the back of the truck. Oh yeah, Shaniko is famous for it's role as a wool exporting boom town, so the REO is part of that history.
     
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  15. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Here, we see the roof falling into disrepair, but plenty of green paint still visible.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    By the time we found it, you would never have guessed that the flatbead and headache rack was actually the remains of someone's domicile.

    [​IMG]

    Things are pretty much BUST in Shaniko today. I couldn't find any businesses open and the hotel is for sale. I did get some critical info from a kind woman who is trying to revive the local newspaper. She told me the collector of all those fine automobiles had died and the widow may be interested in selling some stuff.

    The widow did not have a keen inventory of all the junk stored in Shaniko, particularly the more dilapidated junk sitting around in the streets. After a few weeks and a few phone calls, the widow and her sons offered to sell the REO for near scrap iron prices.

    Curiosity had bought us a 2-ton truck 1,900 miles from home without a clue what to do next.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  17. And now we want to know...the rest...of the story. (Pardon the crappy Paul Harvey impersonation)
     
  18. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,183

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Very cool build, and a very interesting story. Nice job!

    Brian
     
  19. exterminator
    Joined: Apr 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,371

    exterminator
    Member

    You sure have my interest.Please ,go on.
     
  20. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,514

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.

    enjoying this,keep it coming:D:cool:
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  21. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    3wLarry
    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

    I hate it when someone stops posting in the middle of the night to go to bed, of all things...
     
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  22. harrington
    Joined: Jul 22, 2009
    Posts: 421

    harrington
    Member
    from Indiana

    Who needs sleep when there is a cool story to tell....
     
  23. Heyyyyyy !!!
    What happened ? Rebuffering done yet
     
  24. falconsprint63
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,348

    falconsprint63
    Member
    from Mayberry

    super cool project and story
     
  25. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,656

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    Wow, I like where this is headed!
     
  26. Subscribing now..................!
     
  27. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,708

    Weasel
    Member

    Yep, man is a hunter! Love the story and I'll be watching this one with interest. The six figure REO truck mentioned being for sale is absolutely stunning in person. Saw it a few years ago up close - it's a resto rod - linkee below....

    blog.hemmings.com/index.php/tag/reo/
     
  28. I'm no purist, but what the HELL? 10 of them known to exist, and they put a small-block Chevy in it....:eek::confused::eek::confused::eek::mad:
     
  29. Im on for the ride
     
  30. oldrelics
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,729

    oldrelics
    Member
    from Calgary

    Nice! Make sure you keep it with fenders!
     

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